Cameras - Image Capture

The first camera I remember was a Kodak 35mm outfit I bought at the Olmos Pharmacy where my father stopped for coffee with friends. It had match-value EV settings. I saved the $17(!) dollars. I was 11 years old. I did not take a lot of pictures. Prints meant more saving. The second camera was a Graphic 35 with real shutter controls and f-stops, and a rapid rangefinder focus. My father bought it for me when I saw it at a “hock shop.” I was 13.

In college I took a Photojournalism class to get into a darkroom. Magic! I borrowed a Nikkormat, then bought a Rollieflex Tesser 3.5 in another hock shop. The professor kept reminding us, “The quality of the image starts with the size of the negative."

In 1972, I wandered into a camera shop in Morganton, N.C., and walked out with an ancient 4x5 Burke and James Press Camera - fogged lens and rotating back, but big negatives. A year later, I walked into a camera shop in Raleigh, N.C., and walked out with a Linhof Super Technika 4x5, a great precision tool. The 150mm Symmar was the only lens I had for 20 years; now I have a 90, 120, and 210mm. I used to own several other camera "kits," but I don't even use the Linhof and lenses anymore.

Spring 2005, another friend lent me a Nikon D70 and a couple of lenses. By the end of the week, I was putting RAW files into Adobe Lightroom Beta 1 and getting pictures that just shocked me. The world turned upside down - or right side up. I sold the rest of my cameras to raise cash for a camera with a chip. I bought a Nikon D200, 18x200mm VR Zoom and a 50mm f/1.4.

Now, I use a new Nikon D750 with a 28-300mm ED VR. The 24mp sensor is like having a large-format negative. I still use Lightroom (now v.6) and it keeps getting better. Some images go into Photoshop to do what Lightroom cannot do yet. I hope I keep getting better. Like my dad once said, "The best thing about the good old days is ...they are old and gone."

David Meriwether ...photographer

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